How To Remove Mildew Smell From Leather Jacket: 4 Best Ways

Going out, you pick a leather jacket to complete your outfit, but then it smells nasty. You might want to know how to remove mildew smell from leather jacket in advance to avoid ruining your day.

It’s highly likely that mildew grows on your leather jacket if the smell is musty and earthy, or the odor comes from another item that rubbed the odor on your jacket. Whichever it is, it’s best to take action to prevent it from getting out of hand. 

how to remove mildew smell from leather jacket

Please continue reading to know more about mildew, its smell, how to remove and prevent the nasty smell.


Mildew: A Definition

JSE Labs Inc. defined mildew as a specific type of mold and an early-stage mold. It’s a microscopic fungus that traverses through the air in the shape of tiny spores; if it lands on a wet area, it can grow.

Compared to mold, it is less complicated to deal with mildew. It only grows on the surfaces of materials and doesn’t penetrate or affect its insides.

Mildew can appear powdery, dry, flat, or fuzzy. Although somehow similar to mold, mildew is far mildew when it comes to risk in health. 

People with respiratory problems, allergies, asthma, the elderly, toddlers, and babies can be significantly harmed by mildew after long periods of exposure. Some might get headaches, an itchy nose, cough, difficulty in breathing, and many more, as a symptom of exposure.

This fungus carries or produces an earthy and musty smell, comparably a much milder version of filthy wet socks or decaying woods. Even without seeing one, you can identify it through the odor.


Removing Mildew Smell On A Leather Jacket

Read on for a manageable step you can follow for removing that musty smell caused by mildew.

Before anything else, you should first carefully scan your leather jacket in case that mildew is growing on it. Ensure to inspect everywhere carefully so that you won’t miss a spot. 

Mildew growing on your leather jacket can produce an earthy and musty smell, and it’ll be a more laborious task to remove mildew itself.

If you’re interested, read this article about how to prevent mildew in closets, because it is possible for your leather jacket to absorb the smell that came from your closet that has mildew. 

However, if there’s none, and only the smell permeated, then you can proceed to the following.


Method #1. Rubbing alcohol

Pour an equal portion of water and rubbing alcohol into a bowl. Damp a clean cloth (preferably a lint-free) on the mixture; make sure to squeeze it to extract the excess wetness.

Using that wet cloth, wipe the leather gently, ensuring it passes every area. 

If you saw mildew growth, use a brush, damp it in the water and alcohol mixture. Brush the affected area; after that, pat it clean with a cloth.

Leave the jacket to air-dry outside until it is thoroughly dried.


Method #2. White vinegar

On a spray bottle, load it with white vinegar. Lightly sprinkle it on the inside and outside of the leather jacket; remember not to soak it and spray just enough.

Hang the jacket outside, and let it dry naturally. Once dry, use a leather conditioner to keep it in good condition.


Method #3. Baking soda

Sprinkle enough layer of baking soda on the inside and outside of the jacket. Then carefully fold it, place in a ziplock bag, and store it for a day or overnight.

After soaking through, you can remove the baking soda using a vacuum or gently brush it away. Repeat the process if a faint nasty odor remains.


Method #4. Leather cleaner

You can buy a leather cleaner at hardware stores. Not only would it be safe for the leather material, but it can also remove bad smells.

Make sure first to read the instruction, know how much is needed for cleaning, and the proper procedure in using it. Sprinkle the cleaner on a clean, dry fabric and wipe the leather. 

For further information, consider visiting this article about how to get rid of mildew smell in closet.


Proper Caring For Leather Jacket

If you’re someone who loves using a leather jacket, then you should know how to properly take care of it so you can make use of it for a more extended period. It shouldn’t be a difficult task, and it’ll only require you minimum effort to do so.

  1. Ensure the leather is dry after using; if not, try drying it out in the sun or using a blow dryer.
  2. Condition the leather after cleaning it. It can also help remove nasty odors.
  3. Do not clean it using a washing machine. Instead, use a special leather soap designated for cleaning leather materials.
  4. Hanging it outside a few times can make it smell nice naturally. But be sure to do this in good weather.

To know more detailed instructions, visit this article about how to care for a leather jacket.



Leather is a durable material, yet it is more challenging to clean it than other fibers. It can also quickly absorb strong odors like mildew smell, and getting rid of those can be tricky.

The question is, how to remove mildew smell from leather jacket in an uncomplicated way?

It’s a good thing that you can start the smell removal with a few ingredients available at home. If you’ve read up to this, you probably already have a clue where and how to start.

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